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Setting up French utilities: establishing water, gas, and electricity in France

Updated: Mar 15




Table of Contents

  • Intro

  • Engine

  • A French introduction to the utilities

  • adjusting to a new living environment

  • establishing gas and electrical infrastructure in France

  • France's green energy

  • French energy suppliers

  • Selecting a French energy supplier

  • Linking up your French energy supply

  • settling your debts

  • In France, switching energy providers


What's going on, France? Your property will become a home once you follow our guide to French utility companies and our advice for connecting gas, electricity, and water. When moving to France with your family, one of the first things to do is set up essential utility connections in your new residence. The utility connections cover power, gas, and water. You will likely wish to configure your home phone, internet, and television in France.


Fortunately, installing utilities for foreign residents in France is a simple process. There are many service providers to pick from, regardless of your preference for buying, renting, or short-term leasing. Thanks to this, you can choose the tariff and seller that best suits your needs. This handbook contains information on the following topics to assist you in making connections:


Engine

You are searching for a new energy provider because you recently moved into a new home in France. Customers can select from various energy options Engie offers, including gas, electricity, and combo packages. Additionally, they offer eco-friendly electricity, which ensures that your home will receive only renewable energy sourced from French producers. See Engie's energy options to help you settle into your new life in France.


A French introduction to the utilities

EDF and Engie, two French energy corporations once under state control, have long had a strong position in the nation's gas and electricity markets. Engie was once known as GDF. However, to meet the conditions of its EU membership, France passed a law in 2007. This opens the door for consumers, who can now select their chosen energy provider.

Despite this liberalization, EDF and Engie still control a sizable portion of the French energy market share. That said, you should still take advantage of the growing number of French providers by doing homework and comparing prices to choose the best energy package. Most service providers, like EDF and Engie, may supply their clients with gas and electricity and offer discounts for combining the two services.


A "dual fuel" power system allows EDF and Engie, among many other service providers, to provide you with gas and electricity. By purchasing the two together, they may save money. The majority of green energy, in terms of how electricity is delivered to you, originates from water flowing over hydroelectric dams, wind, and solar. Since EDF is sold by many of the same companies that supply our consumers with electricity, these companies are the most well-known French companies. France relies primarily on nuclear power, which generates about 70% of the nation's electrical production. You might take that into account while selecting your energy provider. In some farther-flung areas, many local governments will work together to provide water to the people there. If you live in France, you can find out more details about the local water business by speaking with the council of your municipality.


Adjusting to a new living environment

Whether you are moving to a new home or have recently arrived in France, setting up the connection for your utilities is undoubtedly the first thing you want to do.

If someone buys a freshly built home in France, the current owner can transfer ownership of all utility services to you, making them operational right away. You must arrange a meter reading with the prior owner to achieve this. You'll also need to write a joint letter to your provider to guarantee that the transfer goes smoothly and that you don't lose electricity in your new house. You are thus given the option to change service providers later.

In France, if you rent a home, the landlord may have installed the utilities you'll need. Your monthly fees may cover the expenses of creating these relationships. It is crucial to ascertain precisely what you will be responsible for and what you need to pay for before moving into any housing. It is up to your landlord to decide whether or not to permit you to switch utilities. You can sign up with a new supplier or transfer the existing utilities into your name if they are not included in the rent.

Your utility costs are probably paid for automatically if you live in a serviced flat. On the other hand, if you plan to rent for a long time, you can haggle for a cheaper rate. However, switching service providers might not make sense if you only plan to stay for a short while.


Establishing gas and electrical infrastructure in France

Most private homes in the country acquire electricity from the grid, mainly because France has among the lowest residential electricity rates in the OECD. Another option available in most American homes is gas; however, this primarily relies on the area in which you choose to live. Most of your options for an energy supplier will provide gas and electricity if you live in France and need either service.


The energy supplier and tariff you select will significantly impact your ultimate energy bill's cost in France. Some suppliers charge for green energy, while others give their clients exclusive deals and discounts. It is vital to compare utility providers when setting up your service so that you may select the one that best meets your demands.


The once state-owned businesses EDF and Engie provide consumers regulated rates (also known as tariffs réglementés) and their market offer rates, or prix de marché. No other suppliers are offering regulated rates on the French energy market. The French government controls specific tariffs, and the prices that apply to them may change annually. Conversely, they might not be the most affordable option when choosing your contract. The best choice for you will primarily depend on how you want to use it, so you should research before deciding.



France's green energy

Many who travel abroad must make every effort to live as sustainably as possible in their new life in the sunny south of France. If you want to live a more ecologically responsible life in France, being connected to green energy is a great way to start.

However, France's reliance on nuclear power has meant that its renewable energy generation has yet to catch up with that of other European countries. That being stated, you can choose among the most well-known French suppliers who offer eco-friendly options. Furthermore, you can install your solar panels to take advantage of all the sun France offers. French-based businesses involved in the solar energy sector include:

● EDF

● Engie - My Strength


French energy suppliers

France has a growing number of energy providers, and they all provide a wide range of energy options and prices. Due to their lengthy history as state-owned suppliers, EDF and Engie are still the most widely used providers in the country. However, many French citizens use businesses that are relatively new to the energy sector for their utility needs.

Here are some instances of French utility companies offering both gas and electricity:

● EDF

● Engie

● Alternative

▏ Cdiscount Energy

● Overall Direct Energy

● Planète Oui


Selecting a French energy supplier

Selecting the right French energy source and price for their needs might be challenging for foreign residents of France. But to be

sure you choose the energy source that best suits your requirements, you should think about the following:


● Energy type: Do you favor gas or electricity when meeting your demands? Or perhaps a mix of the two? It is crucial to note that mains gas may not always be available in isolated locations, which may influence your choice.

● Energy source: Nuclear power plants provide most of France's energy needs, although more and more suppliers are now providing greener options derived from renewable sources.

● Market price or regulated tariff: Only Engie and EDF can offer tariffs subject to government regulation in France. However, they might not be the most economical options, depending on how you use these resources.

● Pricing options: If you select a tariff based on the market price, you must make a pricing decision. You can choose between an indexed plan, in which the price is connected to changes in the regulated tariffs, and a fixed rate plan, in which the price will stay the same for a predetermined period.

● Tariff type: The next step is to select the tariff type. There are three options: basic (which has a fixed rate for the entire year), off-peak (which offers lower pricing on weeknights and weekends), and tempo (rates vary during the year).

Power capacity: Furthermore, that... The electricity capacity (puissance du compteur) delivered to your French home is up to you to select. The more the potency, the greater the required payment. The capacity that best suits your demands can be ascertained with the help of your provider.


Fortunately, there are now several simple ways to compare France's energy providers. You can refine your search results on comparison websites by using several factors, some of which have already been covered. You can qualify for extra savings and benefits if you sign up for a contract through a specific comparison website.


Linking up your French energy supply

Once you have successfully navigated choosing a French energy provider and plan, it's time to start connecting your home. These days, opening an account with an energy provider is a relatively simple process frequently completed over the phone or online.

The utility company serving your area will want the following information from you for you to register with an energy supplier in France:

● Proof of identity, such as a passport or residency permit

Justificatif de domicile, or proof of habitation

Information specific to bank accounts in France

● Details regarding the previous tenant's contact details (if possible)

It is imperative that you take readings from every meter in the building on the day you move into a new home. Whenever you move into a new residence, you should do this. This will ensure that you only pay for the resources that you use. It can also help lower the expenses associated with your bills. If you plan to move your connection from the previous tenant to yourself, you should schedule this meter reading with them. This will ensure you have power during your initial days in the space.


You will need to build one if you are moving into a newly constructed property without an existing electrical connection. You must contact Enedis, the French energy distributor that supplies most of the country, to do this. The particulars of your house and its surroundings will largely dictate its cost. To learn more about this process and get your questions answered, speak with Enedis and the local town hall.


Settling your debts

You will typically receive a bill for your utilities once every two months in France, which you must pay. Alternatively, you could pay each month, depending on your chosen company. These payments can be made with a check or a bank transfer, but automated monthly installments (direct debit) are the most common method. Depending on how frequently it is checked, readings from your meter are obtained once or twice a year.


French electricity providers typically divide their bills into three distinct groups. Your subscription (abonnement) will be the initial charge directly tied to the pricing plan you selected when you signed up. Then, based on your tariff's rules, you can be charged a use cost determined by your actual consumption. Local taxes and fees will be additional expenses that you will have to pay after that. Usually, just one payment will be needed to cover all of these costs.

In France, switching energy providers Due to the long-standing structure of the French energy market, many citizens need to be made aware that they can move to a new energy provider. Unlike other European countries, switching service providers is incredibly easy in France. If you want to save money, consider switching providers, as it could save you hundreds of euros.


The only transfer steps are finding the right price plan for your needs and contacting your new supplier. They will then organize the transfer on your behalf with your previous service provider. There won't be any fees or other costs involved with ending your subscription, and your electricity won't be turned off. It is forbidden in France to possess them due to legislation.


Note: You have 14 days to decide whether to accept the new contract if you sign up for a new service provider after a smooth-talking salesperson calls or knocks on your door.


Registering a grievance against a French energy provider

If you have a question or an issue with any meter readings or energy bills, contact your service provider immediately. This will give your provider ample time to diagnose and resolve the issue. You can find all the information you need to contact their customer service department on their website.


Le médiateur national de l'énergie, the French energy ombudsman, is the person to contact if you have any complaints regarding your energy supplier. You can take this action if your initial complaint has not been resolved after two months. You can file complaints on their website whenever it is most convenient. The Commission for the Regulation of the Energy Market, or CRE, manages the energy sector in France. On their website, you can find more information on the energy sector in general and the French energy business.


Power plugs and voltage in French

Knowing what to expect when plugging in your appliances is a good idea whether you are planning to move to France or are just visiting. As is the case for much of Europe, the standard electrical current in France is between 220 and 240 volts. However, this is still far higher than in many other countries, including the US. Please ensure all your electronics are compatible with the voltage used in France before plugging them in. This will help you avoid any issues.


The plugs used in France are a unique type of electrical connector because they include two prongs and a receptacle, unlike plugs used in most other countries. Nevertheless, France still has a sizable number of conventional plug sockets that can be found all around Europe. You should be able to plug in appliances made elsewhere using a standard European outlet. Nevertheless, travelers arriving from the US, the UK, or any other country with a different type of electrical socket will need to buy an adapter.


Outages of electricity in France

France is a country where power outages are rare in general. But they happen here sometimes, just like in every other country. You should find out whether your neighbors still have power even if you lose electricity. Should such a situation arise, you might contact Edenis, the organization responsible for managing France's electricity network.


You should check the fuse box to see if any fuses have blown or tripped if the electricity is out only in your home. You can figure out the solution on your own. You should contact your French energy provider if this is different.


France's water supply

Water in France is generally of adequate quality and is provided locally by the commune of your neighborhood or, in more rural areas, by a collection of nearby communes. Following that, these local organizations make agreements with larger water providers. However, you will likely only need to contact your local service provider. You can find out who the local water supplier is by contacting the town hall (mairie) at the most convenient location.


After relocating, you will need to contact the local water supplier to open a new account. Living in a shared building is the lone exception to this rule, as many buildings have a single account and split the related payments. To learn more about the procedures used in your establishment, speak with your building's landlord or the tenants association.


It would help if you contacted the neighborhood water provider as soon as you move into a new house to open an account. You'll most likely need the following details to accomplish this:

● Identity proof, such as a passport or residency card

Documentation proving you live there

Information on French bank accounts (in case of automatic payment setup)

● Details (if any) about the prior tenant


Settling your water bill

In France, your monthly water bill includes the volume of water you consume each month, expressed in cubic meters. In some areas of the country, rates differ significantly and can be expensive. You may receive a bill once or twice a year, depending on the service.



Water from a French tap

It is expected to see residents stocked up on bottled water at the nearest French supermarkets, but you are under no obligation to follow suit. For personal reasons, many French people prefer only to drink water from bottles, even when the water sources in their homes are safe.


Significant regional variations exist in the level of hardness in municipal water supplies across the United States. In certain areas, like those north of Paris and throughout the nation's southeast, hard water is frequently available straight from the faucet. In other regions of the country, such as Brittany and the center, the water that flows from the tap is far kinder.


Practical sources

The national energy mediator is a French national intermediary.

French energy regulator CRE (Commission de Régulation de l'Énergie)




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